The Temptation of St Antony
- (1591-94), oil on panel
- 110.24 x 83.5 in, (280 x 212 cm.)
- Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
This painting is a characteristic creation of Vos, it was the centre panel of a triptych and originally decorated the St. Anthony altar of the cathedral in Antwerp. In the background we can see several episodes from the lives of St. Anthony the Hermit and St. Paul, in particular, the kidnapping of St. Anthony by demons and the burial of St. Paul.
Demons, including a pig-headed demon with an amputated lower left leg, carry away St. Anthony to inflict torture and temptation.
The ceremony of St. Paul’s burial is escorted by a swine and is accompanied by singing and music-making animals who pay Paul their last respects. A small pig-snouted human figure reads from a book as he crouches just below the pig leading this procession.
About the Artist
Marten de Vos, Dutch, (1532-1603). Marten de Vos was a Netherlandish painter active mainly in his native Antwerp after traveling to Italy for seven years, studying in Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Returning to Antwerp, he became the leading Italianate artist in that city, painting figure compositions – chiefly alter pieces – in imitation of the Venetians. The Iconoclasts destroyed much of his work in the churches of Antwerp.